June 12, 2009

The Hindu reports that, "Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated veteran UN diplomat Ali Abdessalam Treki of Libya on his election as the President of the upcoming session of the General Assembly. The three-time Libyan Ambassador to the UN and current Minister of African Union Affairs for the North African nation was elected by acclamation by the 192-member Assembly."

Xinhua reports that, "Treky, who previously served as Libya's foreign minister ...will replace the current GA president, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, when the next assembly session convenes on Sept. 15. In his acceptance speech, Treky said that under his presidency, the General Assembly will continue to push forward the reform of the United Nations, in particular the reform of the Security Council. ...Anti-poverty, climate change, the global financial and economic crisis and the promotion of human right will also top the agenda of the General Assembly, he added."

June 11, 2009

The CBC reports that, "Ontario taxpayers are shelling out $700 million a year for drinking water that never reaches their taps, according to a study released Wednesday by a group representing management and labour groups in the construction industry."

The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario conservatively estimates that, "about one-quarter of the drinking water in Ontario is pumped into the ground... Annually, it says, the province loses 327 million cubic metres of water, enough to fill about 131,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools."

The Blue Communities Project guide highlights that decades of infrastructure funding cuts have resulted in a 'municipal. infrastructure deficit.'

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that Canadian communities need $31 billion to upgrade and develop new water and wastewater infrastructure.

The Council of Canadians and CUPE are calling on the federal government to provide funding to support publicly-owned and operated infrastructure through a national water infrastructure fund.

June 11, 2009

The Canwest News Service reports that, "The federal government announced plans (by releasing two draft documents) Wednesday for a national carbon market..."

"Carbon markets provide a way of buying and selling carbon credits that occur when a company cuts carbon emissions more than required by a government cap."

Companies that don't meet the emissions targets can buy credits from 'creditworthy' projects or from companies with a surplus instead of reducing their emissions.

"(According to Prentice) examples of creditworthy projects are methane capture and destruction from landfill gas, and the creation of new forests or certain types of agricultural soil management."

"Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said Wednesday the province is comfortable with Ottawa's carbon-trading proposal... Still, Renner stressed the province will continue vigorously lobbying for a technology fund to complement a carbon trading system."

June 10, 2009

The Council of Canadians joined with hundreds of concerned individuals and numerous unions and groups this afternoon on Parliament Hill to protest against the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. People gathered on the Hill in advance of Colombian president Alvaro Uribe’s appearance before the House of Commons standing committee on trade.

June 10, 2009

Reuters reports that, "Western diplomats are accusing the leftist former Nicaraguan foreign minister who heads the U.N. General Assembly of hijacking an upcoming U.N. summit on the financial crisis to put capitalism on trial, an allegation his spokesman on Tuesday flatly rejected. Diplomats from the so-called Group of 20 large developed and developing economies criticized U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann and called the June 24-26 summit a 'joke,' a 'tragedy' and a 'waste of time.'"

Reuters adds, "D'Escoto's spokesman Enrique Yeves rejected this, saying, 'These criticisms are not justified, they are not fair.'"

As we noted in our June 1 'ACTION ALERT: Demand that Harper attend UN global economic crisis conference', the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockman is convening a critical United Nations conference on 'the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development' on Wednesday June 24 to Friday June 26 at the UN headquarters in New York City.